From Wilson Okereke, Afikpo
Residents of South East heaved a sigh of relief over the suspension of the Monday-Monday sit-at-home order by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB). It was to press for the unconditional release of its leader, Nnamdi Kanu, by the Federal Government.
However, some families and communities in Ebonyi State are still mourning deaths of their loved ones. They were lost to the August 9 sit-at-home. The group had ordered the lockdown in what it called “Ghost Mondays” with effect from August 9, 2021, if Kanu was not released.
The pro-Biafran leader is facing trial for charges bordering on treason after his extraordinary rendition from Kenya by Nigeria’s security agencies.
Unconfirmed reports said about eight persons were allegedly killed by people suspected to be IPOB enforcers in the Ohaozara-Onicha boundary axis of the state, just as cars, motorcycles and other property were destroyed. For members of their families, the “ghost Monday” actually turned to Black Monday.
In Anike Onicha where the gruesome killing took place, some persons decked in black were alleged to have carried out the dastard act before escaping through the nearby bush.
Two of the victims were a young man of about 36 years and father of four children, Eze Nwangwu and a businessman, Timothy Elom. The latter, aged 40 and father of six children, hailed from Ezza but resided in Onicha where he operated his business.
Paternal uncle of Nwangwu, Moses Umahi, told our reporter that there was neither sign nor premonition of the attack until he began to hear indiscriminate shootings. Before then, his nephew had gone out of their compound for an errand: “Our compound is close to the main road. We were woken up by the gunshots of the miscreants and the flame emanating from the burning vehicles.
“Upon the discovery, all of us scampered for safety until the tension was doused by the presence of some security men who later came to the scene.
“We went out to look for Eze Nwangwu whom before the shootings had left home for Nkwo Market. We could not find him until the following day that his lifeless body containing several machete cuts was seen at a morgue.”
Nwangwu’s close friend, Emmanuel Bob, expressed displeasure over the gruesome murder of the man whom he described as an epitome of peace: “Fate has dealt a deadly blow to the wife and little children.
“The eldest of Eze’s children is about eight years. The youngest is two years and the man was an iron bender. The nature of his work is not the kind of business, which his wife can engage herself in. Truth is that the family needs an assistance.”
Regarding another victim; Elom, an indigene of Umunwagu Idembia in Ezza South LGA who was living at Onicha Igboeze before the unfortunate incident, the bereaved brother in-law, Innocent Obasi, could not express their devastation: “As a dealer in cooking utensils and plastic chairs, Elom left his place of abode for the neighbouring Uburu to supply some goods.
“But he could not accomplish his mission as he ran into the ambush laid by the gunmen who shot him at forehead and chest. Timothy was in the same mini-truck with his younger brother, Chibueze, when they encountered the problem. But as God would have it, Chibueze survived his own gunshot at his hand even as I am speaking, he is receiving treatment in a hospital.”
But Ifeanyi Enekwa, a kinsman of Nwangwu in Umani Anike village was not as lucky as Chimezie. The lad mistakenly came out during the attack and was killed at the particular scene.
Daily Sun learnt that there were three other yet to be identified bodies found at the scene. It was later discovered that they were those returning to the city where they had brought back their dead colleague.
It was gathered that the mangled mini-truck belonging to the Timothy Elom and other damaged vehicles were evacuated from the centre of the road by security personnel the following day.
Some residents of the area who pleaded anonymity for fear of the repercussion said the perpetrators had disappeared through nearby bushes. There appeared to be official silence about the incident as the state police command kept mute as attempt to get their reaction was not successful.
But IPOB’s spokesman, Emmanuel Powerful, said no price was too much for the Igbo to pay in securing their freedom and release of Kanu. He noted that Biafran children lost education for the 30-month of the civil war.
The IPOB high command, however, clarified: “The suspension of the sit-at-home by the IPOB Head of Directorate was as a result of a direct order from the leader of this great movement Onyendu Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.”